Last month’s Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes winner Still Having Fun drew the rail for Saturday’s $100,000 Miracle Wood Stakes. The 3-year-old stakes goes as the sixth race and is scheduled for 3:00. Although the post might usually be a worry going the 1-mile distance at Laurel, we learned last time in the Whiteley that Still Having Fun has no problem taking the inside route and getting a little dirt in his face. Drawn to his outside in the seven-horse field are four rivals he soundly defeated in the Whiteley. Newcomers include Dynamic Asset and He Hate Me, the only other stakes winner in the field.
Still Having Fun has come out of the Whiteley in good order and Tim hopes the three-week turnaround won’t be a hindrance Saturday.
“He really didn’t need a timed work in between races,” Tim said. “He had a long, strong 2-mile gallop with Tattooed Friday. He gets a lot out of his training in the morning, he’s very competitive. He listens to his exercise rider very well. He’s not difficult to ride, but he’s a 3-year-old colt. He feels good.”
He also listens very well to his rider in the afternoon. Still Having Fun showed a tremendous response when guided to the inside for his stretch run in the Whiteley by jockey Feargal Lynch. Lynch can’t wait to get back on the colt, who he has ridden in each of his first three starts.
“It was funny, I had Feargal come in Monday last week to work a few horses,” Tim said. “He walked in the barn, looked up at the charts and he frowned. I said, ‘what’s a matter?’ He said, ‘I thought I was coming in here to work the big horse today.’ I said, ‘you’re going to work a couple of maidens.’ ”
The 1-mile distance of the Miracle Wood will be the farthest Still Having Fun has run in the afternoon.
“He hasn’t given me any reason that he can’t go longer,” Tim said. “My only hesitation is I know his mother and sister and both of them are one-dimensional sprinters, but he obviously has a different sire. I’m not afraid to try him this one-turn mile. We’ll see how that goes Saturday and then from there try him around two turns”
Industry stalwarts Gary Barber and Adam Wachtel joined Terp Racing as owners of Still Having Fun prior his last start, and the team hopes to keep the momentum going forward this weekend.
“Their original idea was to run him two turns in an a-other-than. As we were getting closer to it, I just didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” Tim said. “Adam was great about it. He told me ‘let’s go where you think we need to go with him.’
“It’s been a good group with them as partners with Terp Racing. Terp Racing are owners I’ve had for a long time, they’re wonderful. Jim Scott is the main partner. He’s had some good interactions with Adam. That was one of the hesitations in the beginning when the decision was made to sell two-thirds of the horse, what kind of working relationship will the groups have? Jim told me just this morning that it’s been great.”
Before Still Having Fun runs Saturday, the Keefe barn will send out Tattooed and Cyndara Friday.
Tattooed goes in the seventh, a first-level allowance going 1-mile for 3-year-olds. The Maryland-bred gelding comes off a good-looking score by 5 1/4 lengths to break his maiden.
“Tattooed is a horse that has taken a little while to figure things out,” Tim said. “His owners are great, they gave him plenty of time. It’s just been a matter of maturity and stretching him out. I think his numbers warrant trying him a time or two in this spot.”
Cyndara will contest Friday’s nightcap. The filly owned by Karen Kerlins’ Halcyon Springs Stable was set as the 5-1 third-choice on the Morning Line. She drops in class slightly in hopes of a maiden-breaking victory.